Teens win grant for rain barrel project

ARUNDEL DIGEST

April 20, 2008

Teens as Problem Solvers, the youth leadership project of the Volunteer Center for Anne Arundel County, will receive a $1,000 award to launch a service-learning project for Global Youth Service Day next weekend.

TAPS is one of 100 Good Neighbor Service-Learning Award winners chosen by Youth Service America and funded by the State Farm Companies Foundation.

TAPS members and other volunteers will assemble and install three rain barrels at the Chesapeake Children's Museum, 25 Silopanna Road in Annapolis, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

Mel Wilkens of the Spa Creek Conservancy is leading the TAPS members in learning about and installing rain barrels to collect and store rainwater runoff from rooftops. Water collected from rain barrels can be used to water gardens and lawns during dry spells. Rain barrels are also effective in reducing water pollution and erosion.

Annapolis GreenS cape wins state honor

The PARC Branch of the Maryland Recreation and Parks Association Award Committee has chosen the City of Annapolis' GreenScape program as the winner of its "Creative ProgramMing" award. It was presented Wednesday at the association's annual conference in Ocean City.

GreenScape is a volunteer effort, sponsored by city, which encourages and supports individuals and organizations to plant and maintain native gardens in public areas. The city provides plant materials, mulch, trash bags and gloves; and the community provides volunteers.

Saturday's event will mark the 17th year of this annual beautification program.

Group takes baseline water samples

A snapshot of water quality taken by South River Federation volunteers turned up clearer results, thanks to dry weather, officials at the nonprofit said.

More than 50 volunteers fanned out April 12 to nearly 50 sites to sample water from all the creeks and streams that feed the river, measuring bacteria, sediment, pH and nutrient levels.

"Since the sampling was done prior to the rain on Saturday, it gives us a great picture of baseline conditions," said Chris Trumbauer, federation vice president and Snapshot organizer. "The results showed us that on this particular Saturday morning, the water in the streams was quite clear. This is what the streams should look like."

Other recent snapshots were taken after significant rainfall, when the watershed's streams, creeks, and even the river itself, are typically clouded with sediment.

The number of bacteria samples that failed the EPA safe-swimming limit was less than half of that of previous years, when sampling had been conducted shortly after it rained. A total of 10 of the 43 bacteria samples surpassed the EPA limit.

The preliminary snapshot results were consistent with the findings of the federation's annual scorecard, released last month.

"The South River is facing increasing threats to its health," said Matt Berres, South River Federation executive director. "Unmanaged stormwater pollution and construction site runoff are prime culprits."

The full results of the snapshot will be presented on June 10 at a general meeting.

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